With age, weight loss, pregnancy or a combination of the three, your skin can loosen. Since many people tend to gain and lose around the midsection, stomach skin can become loose and saggy. Meanwhile, the folds of skin around our knees can gain slack and become loose with time and weight loss. While skin tightening surgery is a rather invasive option for severely loose skin, there are options to tighten skin with diet, exercise and topical treatments.
Care for loose skin while you're still young. Skin naturally loses elasticity as we age, and the sooner you begin treating skin, the firmer and smoother your skin will be.
Lose weight slowly, if you haven't already lost the weight. Dropping weight quickly doesn't allow the skin on your stomach and knees enough time to gradually adjust to your new, slimmer frame. When you lose weight very quickly, as with gastric bypass surgery or severe crash diets, the skin tends to hang more loosely.
Eat raw fruits and vegetables for antioxidants, which remove free radicals from skin to create a healthier, smoother appearance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 30-year-old and active woman should eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.
Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. Water helps flush toxins from your body, and hydrated skin is plumper and smoother than dehydrated skin.
Remove toxins from skin with a salt bath. Drop half a pound of sea salt into a warm tub and soak your body for up to a half-hour, or until the water cools.
Scrub your stomach and knees twice a week with a sea salt or fruit-based scrub. The scrubbing motion increases blood flow to the area, while the exfoliation encourages the development of new, healthy skin cells.
Use creams with collagen and caffeine daily, both of which can help firm skin when applied topically. Moisturizing also helps increase natural collagen production, and moisturized skin immediately looks smoother and more even than rough, dry skin.
Perform abdominal exercises and squats three times a week to tone the muscles around your stomach and knees. Strengthening exercises build and increase the size of your muscles, which can help to fill out loose skin.
Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and avoid tanning. Sun exposure breaks down skin collagen and dehydrates, which can lead to creased, leathery skin.
Try a session of monopolar radiofrequency, more commonly known as thermage, along stomach and knees. The procedure uses radiofrequency energy to heat the skin and underlying tissue, which helps tighten the tissue and immediately increase collagen production. It requires no cutting or invasive techniques, but side effects could include burning, swelling or scarring.
Try a focus ultrasound, or ulthera session. This process also stimulates collagen production to tighten skin without cutting or invasive procedures. This will also have the possibility of similar side effects to thermage.
Consider surgery to cut away excess skin if other methods have not provided significant results. A plastic surgeon will make an incision, trim away excess skin and close the cut with sutures. In best cases the results are natural and the incisions are not noticeable, but risks include bleeding, infection, scarring and -- as with all surgery -- illness and even death.
- All surgeries, including cosmetic surgeries, carry risks that should be discussed in detail with your doctor.
Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.